Song of Solomon 3

CHAPTER III

The bride mentions the absence of her spouse, her search after

him, and her ultimate success, 1-5.

A description of the bridegroom, his bed, chariot, &c., 6-11.

NOTES ON CHAP. III

Verse 1. By night on my bed I sought him] It appears that the

bridegroom only saw the bride by night: that on the night referred

to here he did not come as usual. The bride troubled on the

account, rose and sought him, inquired of the city guards, and

continued to seek till at last she found him, and brought him to

her apartment, So 3:2-4.

Verse 4. Into my mother's house] The women in the East have all

separate apartments, into which no person ever attempts to enter

except the husband. We find Isaac bringing Rebecca into his

mother's tent, when he made her his wife, Ge 24:67. What is

here related appears to refer to the third night of the nuptials.

Verse 5. I charge you] The same adjuration as before, So 2:7.

Verse 6. Who is this that cometh out of the wilderness] Going to

Egypt was called descending or going down, coming from it was

termed coming up. The bride, having risen, goes after her spouse

to the country, and the clouds of incense arising from her

palanquin seemed like pillars of smoke; and the appearance was

altogether so splendid as to attract the admiration of her own

women, who converse about her splendour, excellence, &c., and then

take occasion to describe Solomon's nuptial bed and chariot. Some

think that it is the bridegroom who is spoken of here.

With this verse the third night is supposed to end.

Verse 7. Threescore valiant men] These were the guards about the

pavilion of the bridegroom, who were placed there because of fear

in the night. The security and state of the prince required such

a guard as this, and the passage is to be literally understood.

Verse 8. They all hold swords] They are swordsmen. Every man has

a sword, and is well instructed how to use it.

Verse 9. Of the wood of Lebanon.] Of the cedar that grew on that

mount. It is very likely that a nuptial bed, not a chariot, is

intended by the original word appiryon. Montanus properly

translates it sponsarum thalamum, a nuptial bed. It may, however,

mean a palanquin.

Verse 10. The pillars-of silver] The bedposts were made of

silver, or cased with wrought silver plates, like the king's

chairs brought from Hanover, now, in one of the staterooms in

Windsor Castle.

The bottom thereof of gold] This may refer to cords made of

gold thread, or to the mattress, which was made of cloth

ornamented with gold.

The covering-of purple] Most probably the canopy.

The midst-paved with love] The counterpane, a superb piece of

embroidery, wrought by some of the noble maids of Jerusalem,

and, as a proof of their affection, respect, and love, presented

to the bride and bridegroom, on their nuptial day. This is most

likely to be the sense of the passage, though some suppose it to

refer to the whole court.

A Turkish couch is made of wooden lattices painted and gilded;

the inside is painted with baskets of flowers and nosegays,

intermixed with little mottoes according to the fancy of the

artist. Solomon's couch may have been of the same kind, and

decorated in the same way; and the paving with love may refer to

the amatory verses worked either on the counterpane, hangings, or

embroidered carpet. And as this was done by the daughters of

Jerusalem, they might have expressed the most striking parts of

such a chaste history of love as Halaly's Leely and Mejnoon on

the different parts. I see that Dr. Good is of this opinion. It is

sufficiently probable.

Verse 11. Go forth, O ye daughters of Zion] This is the

exhortation of the companions of the bride to the females of the

city to examine the superb appearance of the bridegroom, and

especially the nuptial crown, which appears to have been made by

Bathsheba, who it is supposed might have lived till the time of

Solomon's marriage with the daughter of Pharaoh. It is conjectured

that the prophet refers to a nuptial crown, Isa 61:10. But a

crown, both on the bride and bridegroom, was common among most

people on such occasions. The nuptial crown among the Greeks and

Romans was only a chaplet or wreath of flowers.

In the day of the gladness of his heart.] The day in which all

his wishes were crowned, by being united to that female whom

beyond all others he loved.

Here the third day is supposed to end.

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